"The road to happiness is paved with good deeds for others." That's what Rae's grandmother used to tell her, and Rae understands the truth of this. Her life though, is another road paved with pain, heartache, and secrets.
Rae lives with her mother who doesn't pay her much attention, and her step-father Dean, who is a controlling, angry person. Every day she comes home to this, and Rae only wishes she could live the happy teen life she sees in her friends. And then along comes Nathan....
The first time he saw Rae, he knew she was the one. Rae couldn't believe that this hot new guy at school would single her out, but he did, and their relationship begins to bloom. It doesn't matter that he sometimes is forgetful. It also doesn't matter if he gets first choice, regardless of what Rae thinks or says. He's her first boyfriend, and Rae loves the feeling of someone else loving her back. But then again, she also knows something isn't quite right about Nathan...
So, in a balance between light and dark, Rae continues to live her life. The bright side of her life is that her poetry is published anonymously and she loves her job at the florist shop. The dark side? Her having to give her paychecks to Dean, who lost his job, and how obsessive Nathan is becoming. She fears the dark.
Rae's life couldn't get any worse. But there is still hope in the world, which she sees through the anonymous person buying flowers for the hurt and hurting, the flourishing poetry in the school newspaper, her friends, and Leo...wonderful, caring Leo... But the dark is always lingering, ready to capture her and make her stay.
Lisa Schroeder is best known for her novels-in-verse, and this book truly showcases her talent as a novelist. Her poetry still has its own voice in this novel as well; her verse can be found scattered throughout the book. Schroeder also creates an interesting timeline, starting with the present and going back six months. The reader gets to be involved in Rae's life through her memories as she lays in a hospital bed hovering between that light and dark, which Schroeder offers to the readers through poems, relationships, and emotions. All of these elements combine to make a great connective story with Rae at the hub. Job well done! Recommended.
book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00VFQKaaQUY Recommended by: Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA
1. Rae is in ICU at the hospital hovering between life and death. Why is she here? What happened? As Rae slowly awakens she starts to remember more and more!
Seventeen-year-old Rae is leading two lives. At home she lives with her abusive stepfather and her mother who chooses to ignore it. The rest of the time she does everything she can to keep her home life a secret and live a normal life at school and work.
One day a hot new guy shows up at school and Rae is shocked when she is the one he wants to date. At first things go well but it doesn’t take long to see that Nathan is controlling and abusive in his own way.
Then there is Leo the home schooled boy whose family owns the coffee shop next door to the florist where Rae works. He is kind, supportive and gentle - everything Rae could want in a boy, but they have known each other for years and are good friends but nothing more. Or is there more than they both are willing to admit?
In dealing with the abuse and neglect in her life Rae chooses to write poetry to express her feelings of anger and frustration. This for her is a therapeutic way to deal with her problems.
When the school newspaper starts a new section for poetry Rae is allowed to enter one of her poems and sign it anonymously. This leads to others entering their poems. Students have found a way to talk about their problems without having to let people know who they are.
As Rae watches what is happening she wonders why people can’t publish their poetry with their names without fear of ridicule. A “poetry revolution” has started.
Rae’s relationships with her family, friends, Nathan and Leo are the main parts of the book with her poetry and what she can accomplish with that is more in the background.
Recommended by Joleen Waltman, Idaho USA